I just blinked, and it’s December! What an incredible time of year.
We have less than 30 days left to accomplish our goals for the year. We have an incredible opportunity to impact lives for God. It’s a season of nostalgia and traditions and joy.
We associate it with the holiday season. It’s displayed on ornaments and signs and shirts and on our social media posts. But can I be really honest with you for a minute?
I’m struggling with finding joy.
I know I should have it… I should exude it.
In my head, I know this is the most wonderful time of the year. In ministry we get to remind people about God’s Son and His love for us. We get to introduce people to Him who may have never met Him before. We are supposed to slow down and smell the pine-scented candles and marvel in His presence in our lives.
But sometimes ministry pulls me away from joy instead of toward it.
Ministry is messy… and at Christmas time, it’s busy, and intense, and sometimes very sad. We work hard to create incredible experiences for our children or youth or congregations. We visit and call and write to those who may not come to church any other time of the year. We minister to those who are facing a holiday with a loved one absent.
Suddenly I find myself overwhelmed and tired and with no joy.
I want joy - true joy, not just a smiling façade with an empty heart.
So how do I get there?
Find joy in the past.
The greatest way to know what God is going to do in the future is to remember what He has done in the past.
Take time to remember how God has brought you joy in past holiday seasons. Think back over the past year and celebrate what He has done in your life and in your ministry. Give thanks for how He has shown Himself.
Recognize joy in the present.
Joy is like love… it’s more of a choice than a feeling. Despite your circumstances, God desires to fill you with His joy. Joy is a fruit of the spirit –which means we were never meant to produce it ourselves. We are meant to recognize it comes from God.
Seek joy in the future.
Every day of this season, I pray that you will seek joy for your future. Set yourself up for success by spending time with God and His Word. When we are filled with Him, we will be filled with joy.
If you’re struggling this Christmas season, you’re not alone. And you know what? It’s ok not to be ok – it’s just not ok to stay that way.
Find your joy.